Energy efficiency: invest and save


23 November 2017
Richard Metcalfe, Sales Director at ICS Cool Energy, outlines how companies can benefit from The Carbon Trust’s Green Business Fund, offering potential grants of up to £5k on eligible equipment.

Our focus on energy efficiency as a nation continues to grow as a result of rising energy bills and of course government legislation, placing increasing pressure on businesses to reduce consumption and become more efficient. While some aspects of our rising energy use are linked to technology, such as the growth of global communications and IT networks, others such as space heating and process cooling remain a necessary evil. Or so it seems.
Thanks to the evolution of new technologies over recent years, businesses can achieve significant savings from the upgrade of their existing heating and cooling systems and there are incentives and funds available to support businesses in equipment replacement. This is particularly pertinent for those businesses where issues with temperature control, both in terms of process and facility cooling is pivotal to the operation, such as the food and beverage industry. In environments like these, savings could easily translate into thousands of pounds each year.

For many however, there remains a reluctance to invest, due to the upfront cost required for new equipment. In fact, in many instances, the capital expenditure for the equipment and its installation will be recovered through a reduction in energy consumption throughout its operational life.

Potential suppliers
Aware of the issues facing businesses, and designed to help accelerate take up in energy efficient technologies, The Carbon Trust is currently operating a scheme called the Green Business Fund. Available for a limited period and on a first come, first served basis, businesses with eligible projects are able to receive a 15% financial contribution, of up to £5,000, towards selected energy saving equipment - including energy saving assessments, lighting and process cooling equipment. 

To be eligible, businesses must be based in England, Scotland or Wales, be a small-to-medium sized enterprise and the project must be intended to deliver fossil fuel savings. A number of other criteria also apply, including the fact that a business must meet at least two of the following criteria; have no more than 250 employees, an annual turnover that does not exceed £25.9 million and finally an annual balance sheet assets total that does not exceed £12.9 million.

The application process is relatively simple and a key requirement of which, is for companies to choose an accredited supplier within the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Directory – something ICS Cool Energy has recently been added to.

The process in brief:
  1. Identify potential suppliers that are eligible within the scheme, via the Green Business Directory.
  2. Request a formal quote from your chosen supplier. You will also require an electronic copy of the supplier’s quote but be aware that the format must meet The Carbon Trust’s guidelines.
  3. Begin the application process - with quotes in place, businesses can now begin the application process on The Carbon Trust’s website.

Have to hand the following:
  • Organisation details including turnover and value of gross assets
  • Project details – equipment currently installed and what is to be replaced. In this section, it is necessary to provide details of the energy consumption, current kWh consumption and projected usage of the new equipment. Much of this information will be available on the energy bill, but the supplier providing the quote should also be able to provide you with a steer.
  • Supplier name – as detailed in the directory
  • Energy saving – a completed Energy Savings Assessment. A template is available via The Carbon Trust, again this is something that the supplier will be familiar with and can therefore support you on.

While cost may be one of the greatest barriers to the purchase of energy efficient equipment, it isn’t the only factor. With so much choice in terms of technology and in choosing a suitable partner, it can put some companies off. This is a major advantage to schemes such as the Green Business Fund, as The Carbon Trust removes some of the barriers businesses face during the research and specification phase. Offering clear and independent advice around its accredited suppliers, businesses are potentially just one click away from sourcing information on the latest equipment, and efficiency opportunities.
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